We all can do something to help improve the health of the planet. No matter how small, everything helps. Since Earth Day is April 22nd, now is a great time to evaluate how environmentally friendly you really are. Read on for small things that you can do to help take care of Planet Earth and “green up” your grocery shopping.
- Size matters. When choosing between a large container and several small containers that add up to the same volume: Consider whether buying the large container would serve the same purpose and save you money. For example, do you really need to buy individual boxes (and more packaging) of juice if you are going to drink the juice all in the same week and at your kitchen table?
- Go organic. Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers which is not only helpful for the environment, but also a healthy choice for you and your family.
- It's in the bag. We could all carry our own reusable shopping bags when we go shopping and save on plastic waste. Another idea is to reuse any plastic grocery bags we might accumulate to line small wastebaskets. Put a few bags in the bottom of the waste basket BEFORE you line it, so there's another one ready to use after one is filled.
- Buy local. Local foods are those that are produced with typically less travel involved, using less fuel and pollution to get there. In addition, local foods tend to be a fresh choice.
- Gotta have a plan! Plan ahead and shop in conjunction with other errands taking you near your grocery store. The result is a reduction in the use and cost of fuel needed to transport food.
- Practice the 3 R’s. Produce less waste AND save money by practicing the 3 R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle.
Here are three examples in relation to throwing away leftover food. Not only does tossing leftovers waste money, it also wastes the energy resources and packaging materials associated with the tossed food.
• Reduce the amount of leftover food tossed by serving smaller portions of foods that frequently produce leftovers OR …
• Reuse leftovers by serving them again in a day or two or freezing them for future use, OR …
• Recycle leftovers into a different type of meal; for example – add that extra rice to a soup the next night.
- Don't be a "spoil"-sport. Throwing away spoiled food is related to tossing leftovers. Reduce the amount of spoiled food that gets tossed through such practices as:
• Reading labels for "use by," "expiration" or "best if used by" dates.
• Refrigerating and freezing foods at recommended temperatures -- 0 degrees F or lower for freezers and 40 degrees F or lower for the refrigerator section. An appliance thermometer assures your refrigerator/freezer is maintaining these temperatures.
• Following recommended storage times for foods. For example, some containers may specify a recommended time frame in which to eat a food after it is opened.
• Avoiding buying so much food in bulk that it spoils before you can use it. Or if you find that you have a large amount of something whose expiration date is approaching, give it away.
- Drink to this. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water. Your investment soon will pay for itself.
- Bulk it up. Some products purchased at the grocery store, such as hand soap, can be purchased in big bottles that are used to refill a smaller-size bottle. Reduce the cost and the packaging by refilling the smaller bottle.
Pea and New Potato Salad
Serves 8 (about 1 cup each). Active Time: 35 minutes | Total: 35 minutes
All you need:
- 2 pounds new or baby potatoes, scrubbed and trimmed, halved if larger than walnuts
- 2 teaspoons Grand Selections extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 1 bunch scallions, white parts only, finely chopped
- 2 cups shelled fresh peas (about 3 pounds unshelled) or Hy-Vee frozen peas (thawed)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced small radishes
- 1 tablespoon Hy-Vee butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chervil and/or savory
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
All you do:
- Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Put potatoes in the basket and steam until barely tender when pierced with a skewer, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add scallion whites and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add peas and water; cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are just softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add radishes and butter; cook, stirring, until the radishes are softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Gently stir in the steamed potatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Nutrition facts per serving: 139 calories; 3g fat (1g sat, 1g mono); 4mg cholesterol; 25g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 5g protein; 4g fiber; 179mg sodium; 693mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (52% daily value), Potassium (20% dv).
Carbohydrate servings: 1 1/2
Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.